Chelsea is the only unbeaten side in the Premier League after seven games and two months. Newspapers and TV pundits can’t stop praising new signings Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas, Jose Mourinho has built a squad that is complete in all aspects.
Teamwork wins the matches, not individual players.But there are a few never in the limelight. This international break allows us to focus and appreciate one such silent stalwart among other more highlighted names.Cesar ‘Dave’ Azpilicueta is the Unsung Hero.
The Nickname for the ‘Dave’ and it’s significance:
His English fans have named him ‘Dave’ since his last name has proved a significant tongue twister for players, fans and TV pundits alike. Like those who are struggling to tackle pronouncing it, attackers across England and Europe have struggled to negotiate their way past this flamboyant defender.
Azpilicueta has made a career out of fitting in. Originally a midfielder he was thrown into Osasuna’s first team at right-back aged 18 due to an injury crisis. He settled so well, and he made the position his own. He probably wouldn’t have had a dream then telling him the same could happen again a few years from then. Fast forward to 2012.
Cesar Azpilicueta joined Chelsea in that summer for £7.74 million. His arrival was overshadowed by the signings of Hazard and Oscar, and it took him a month before he made his debut for Chelsea. Arriving at Chelsea after two seasons at Marseille, he had to adjust to three managers within a year thanks to Abramovich’s search for a man to win every trophy out there.
Special Uncertainty Principle:
When Jose Mourinho returned to Chelsea, few expected him to keep Cesar Azpilicueta in his plans. The right back had only demonstrated his worth for Chelsea in occasional flashes. Being behind Branislav Ivanovic in the pecking order didn’t help either. Things looked gloomy for the young Spaniard. Today the 5′ 10″ defender has proved everyone wrong. Here’s what Jose Mourinho had to say about the versatile defender from Spain.
“A team of 11 Azpilicuetas would win the Champions League.”
– Jose Mourinho
Azpilicueta has already succeeded in displacing the stagnating Ashley Cole at left back and adapted seamlessly to his new role. So much so, in fact that he has become a Mourinho favourite as is evident from the quote above.
The Inherent Versatility:
It’s never easy adapting to being a left back when you are a natural right footed player, and last season Azpilicueta played in his own half rarely going forward. Yet his defense was impeccable, and this saw him earn a lot of applause and respect from his team-mates and fans.
Dave’s industrious work rate has seen him rake-in 100 appearances for Chelsea in just over two seasons. In the seven league appearances he has made in the current season, he has already made more tackles than any other Chelsea player. Only the centre-half pairing of John Terry and Gary Cahill can best his clearance tally.
He’s seen off the challenge from a player once regarded the best in the world in his position, and he’s beating off another with a similar reputation. The arrival of Fillipe Luis from Atletico Madrid this summer should have seen Azpilicueta lose his left back spot. However, he has kept the Brazilian out of the side in the Premier League so far and shows no signs of stopping soon.
Goals win games, and the performances so far from his teammates at the other end of the pitch have deserved all of the plaudits they have received. However, Cesar Azpilicueta’s dogged determination to keep his head down and do his job deserves a lot of credit.
Edited By: Ojas Tripathi